This is a dual biography, the story of Louis Esson, the distinguished playwright who has been called 'the father of Australian drama', and his wife Hilda, who did her own pioneering in the theatre and in public health. The plays they wrote and performed reflected the drama of their lives: creative angst, intellectual conflict, untimely death, romantic entanglement, jealousy and despair. Yet Peter Fitzpatrick's book is more than a good read. As a critical appraisal of Louis Esson's plays and an exploration of the relationships the Essons had with well-known literary and theatrical figures in Australia and overseas, the book is an exploration of a developing Australian culture and identity. It is also about the dynamics of a marriage between two brilliant people, reflecting not only the patterns of gender relationships in their own time, but universal passions and strategies.